The Bell Cage of St Mary's church, East Bergholt, Suffolk, circa 1950
Unframed (ref: 7784)
Signed and indistinctly inscribed on the stretcher
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm)
Provenance: Julie Collino
The Church of St Mary the Virgin was built in the 15th and 16th centuries, but is well known for the absence of a tower or spire to house the bells. Work began on a tower in 1525, but Cardinal Wolsey's fall from grace in 1530 brought construction to a halt and the following year a wooden bell cage was erected in the churchyard. This temporary structure still exists although not in its original position. It was moved from the south to the north side of the church in the 17th century because the occupant of Old Hall objected to the noise of the bells.The bells are exceptional in that they are hung upside down and not rung from below by ropes attached to wheels, as is usual in change ringing, but the headstock is manipulated by hand by ringers standing beside the bells.